Gaza Hospitals 'Running Beyond Their Capacity' as Israeli Bombardment Continues
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society called on the international community "to hold Israeli occupation authorities accountable" for serious violations of international humanitarian law that "may amount to war crimes."
Palestinians in the wreckage of Gaza, October 10
By Olivia Rosane, Common Dreams
Hospitals in Gaza had run out of medicines prepared ahead of time by the World Health Organization on Tuesday, as Israel intensified its bombardment of the besieged enclave.
Tuesday marked the fourth day that Israel dropped bombs on Gaza after a surprise attack on Israel from Hamas militants on Saturday, which killed at least 900 Israelis, according to the most recent figures reported by CBS News. In Gaza, meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 765, and aid workers are concerned about how they will treat the 4,000 who have been injured so far.
"With the number of casualties currently coming in, these hospitals are now running beyond their capacity," WHO spokesperson Tarik Jazarevic told journalists in Geneva, according to The Associated Press.
Israel also tightened its almost 20-year blockade of Gaza on Monday, with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant promising a "complete siege." This means Gazans have no way to access essentials like fuel, food, water, and medicine, according to AP.
Jazarevic said that pre-prepared supplies at seven hospitals were already exhausted. The agency is spending $1 million to purchase local supplies, The Hill reported. Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders told AP that it was running out of surgical supplies, antibiotics, fuel, and other necessities at the two hospitals it runs. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) also said that it and other relief organizations faced "a shortage of essential supplies needed to continue providing their services, as a result of this illegal blockade."
Gaza is a 141-square mile stretch of territory where 2.3 million people reside. Around half of its population are children, and at least 140 of them have been killed in the bombardment so far, according to CBS. Israel has blocked all entrances and exits to Gaza except for the border crossing into Egypt at Rafah, which was shuttered Tuesday due to nearby bombing, according to AP.
An Egyptian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the government of Egypt was speaking to the governments of Israel and the U.S. about turning the Rafah crossing into a "no fire zone" so that humanitarian aid could be delivered to Gaza. On Monday, the Egyptian Red Crescent did succeed in delivering some medicines to Gaza.
Beyond dwindling supplies, the PRCS also expressed concern about how the bombing by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) makes it more difficult for medics to work.
"IOF continue to violate international humanitarian law (IHL) provisions by targeting civilians and civilian objects, and destroying the infrastructure in the strip, which restricts PRCS' movement and ability to carry out its humanitarian mission," the group said.
The humanitarian organization also said that the IOF had attacked medical teams. The bombings had injured five paramedics and damaged six ambulances as well as the group's headquarters in both northern and southern Gaza.
"PRCS calls on the international community to hold Israeli occupation authorities accountable for the grave breaches of IHL, which may amount to war crimes," the group wrote. "PRCS further calls to provide protection and safe access to the sick and wounded for medical and humanitarian workers, and to intervene urgently to stop the humanitarian crisis, and open a safe humanitarian corridor, to ensure the entry of fuel and essential supplies for the operation of humanitarian facilities, and transfer of the sick and wounded who need to receive treatment outside the strip, in adherence with their legal obligations according to international law."
Olivia Rosane is a staff writer for Common Dreams.
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